By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
Local firefighters and chili chefs … and likely some firefighting chili chefs, too … will unite this weekend in order to raise money for the family of an injured child.
This Saturday, Jan. 19, the Mantachie Fire Department will be hosting a chili cookoff/firefighter challenge to raise funds for the family of three-year-old Gabe Wiggington, who was severely burned in October and has been hospitalized since then.
Those who believe they pour the best bowl of chili in the area will likely want to show off their culinary skills at the chili cookoff.
Participants may begin setting up at noon at the Greater Mantachie Fire Department. Judging will begin at 4 p.m. While the fire department will provide some basic supplies — bowls, spoons, drinks, crackers and napkins — participants will need to bring their own cookware, table for preparations and heat source. Participants are also invited to bring a tent, if they so please.
Although participants may prepare their food prior to the event, all cooking must be done onsite.
The cost to register for the event is $10. Those who don’t figure anyone would want to eat a bowl of chili they prepared, but still want to help the Wiggington family, can purchase a bowl of chili and a drink for $5. All proceeds will go to help the Wiggington family pay for Gabe’s medical bills.
Local firemen can help the Wiggington family by participating in the firefighter challenge — an obstacle course that should provide a fair amount of challenge and fun.
Those who want to participate are asked to meet at Mantachie High School no later than 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. All firemen will need to bring their full turnout gear and airtanks.
The challenge will begin at 1 p.m.
Participants will be divided into groups of four or five for the course, which will consist of five separate challenges that simulate the kinds of tests firefighters might experience in the field.
After the challenge, participants are invited to head over to the chili cookoff.
The cost to register for the firefighter challenge is $25 per participant.
Wiggington suffered severe burns on more than 60 percent of his body after fiery chemicals were accidentally spilled atop him. He remained hospitalized in a medically-induced coma for more than two months.
Wiggington is currently hospitalized at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Hospital, where he is recovering slowly but steadily.
For more information on Gabe or to send his family some support, visit his Facebook page at “Prayers for Gabe.”